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TOTAL COLLAPSE: HOBBS SHUTS DOWN CANDIDATE QUALIFICATION SYSTEM

Secretary of State cutting off access to signature collection system to all Legislative and Congressional candidates

PHOENIX – In a late-night email to candidates for office across Arizona, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs laid out her plans to shut down the state’s online signature verification system, E-Qual, for all Legislative and Congressional candidates. This move upends potentially dozens of campaigns across the state, and forces them to revert to hand-collection of paper petitions.

From Hobbs’ email, sent last night at 10:16pm (emphasis added):

“Because redistricting remains in progress, Legislative and Congressional candidates are currently only able to use E-Qual to collect signatures from voters in the candidate’s 2020 district.  After the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) certifies the 2022 maps, counties will begin working toward implementing the 2022 maps into the statewide voter registration system. 

“To allow counties to import updated files into the system, E-Qual will be suspended for all Legislative and Congressional candidates at that time and will likely remain unavailable through the remainder of the filing period.

And once again, Hobbs tells candidates to hire their own lawyers to sort out the mess:

“Each candidate should consult their campaign or legal counsel to determine the best option for their situation.”

Steve Gaynor, founder of Fair Maps Arizona and candidate for Arizona governor, issued the following statement about the E-Qual debacle:

“The E-Qual collapse is an absolute injustice. It makes it harder for Arizonans to run for office, and impedes the ability of our citizens to participate in the democratic process. Secretary Hobbs has failed to ensure the integrity of our elections by creating roadblocks to participation, and her incompetence shows plainer each day. This cannot stand – Katie Hobbs needs to get her act together and the E-Qual system must be fixed immediately.”

Full text of the email from Hobbs’ office below:

From: candidate [mailto:candidate@azsos.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2022 10:16 PM
To: candidate
Subject: Updated Redistricting Guidance

Dear 2022 Candidates,

Based on feedback our office received in early 2022 we have updated our guidance and procedures regarding E-Qual petition signature collection. We have also attached the updated 2022 Candidate Redistricting Guide to this email.

E-Qual Petition Signature Collection

Because redistricting remains in progress, Legislative and Congressional candidates are currently only able to use E-Qual to collect signatures from voters in the candidate’s 2020 district. After the Independent Redistricting Commission
(IRC) certifies the 2022 maps, counties will begin working toward implementing the 2022 maps into the statewide voter registration system. To allow counties to import updated files into the system, E-Qual will be suspended for all Legislative and Congressional
candidates at that time and will likely remain unavailable through the remainder of the filing period.

Congressional and Legislative candidates should only use E-Qual to collect signatures from their 2020 district until counties have imported the 2022 maps into the statewide voter registration system. However, candidates may collect signatures
on paper petitions from voters in both their 2020 and 2022 district under S.B. 1107.  

Candidate Portal

If you do not have a current campaign and are creating one for a Congressional or Legislative office, please select your district based on the 2020 maps if you want to collect signatures, and if applicable qualifying contributions, in
E-Qual prior to March 5, 2022.  

Do not designate a 2022 district for your Congressional or Legislative campaign profile if you want to use E-Qual. If you have already designated your 2022 district, you may use the “Change District” function to update to
your 2020 district. Your Statement of Interest will carry over to your updated profile.

If you designate a 2022 district, then you will not have access to the E-Qual system until the 2022 maps have been imported into the statewide voter registration database, which likely will not happen before the close of the candidate
filing period on April 4. However, you may still collect signatures on paper petitions (in both your 2020 and 2022 districts). 

If you designate a 2020 district, you will have an option to update your campaign’s district to the 2022 district at any time prior to filing your nomination paperwork. However, any candidates who want to continue using E-Qual to
collect signatures from voters in their 2020 district should not update their district at this time.  

Each candidate should consult their campaign or legal counsel to determine the best option for their situation.

As a reminder, we’ll be hosting two webinars to discuss the procedures for the 2022 candidate filing cycle. Please register using the information below:

Details:

· January 13, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.

o Zoom Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DyaTHylWQXu6CqlrkzbJ4w

· February 4, 2022 at 9:00 a.m.

o Zoom Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FuK0h332QR2zIwn6fQqe4w

· Additional webinars may be scheduled based on interest.

More information about the topics that will be discussed at the webinar can be found on our website: https://azsos.gov/elections/running-office. If you have questions, please email candidate@azsos.gov.

Sincerely,

Joshua Doty
Elections Filing Manager
Arizona Secretary of State

Email: candidate@azsos.gov
Office: 602-364-3221

1700 W Washington St., 7th Fl. | Phoenix, AZ | 85007

This message and any messages in response to the sender of this
message may be subject to a public records request.